Thursday, November 29, 2012

How To Make Ironing (Sort Of) Fun

I think you can tell from the title of this post there's not going to be anything too profound here today.  Ironing isn't exactly the most philosophically deep topic of discussion.  It is, however, a part of life and because of that it deserves a little look in from time to time.

I don't know anybody who loves ironing. I know lots of people skip it completely, that's fine. Me, I like ironed clothes, they're easier to store and, in my humble opinion, look a bit better and sit nicer when worn. As housekeeping jobs go, along with laundry in general,  it's probably one of my least hated, mainly because it smells lovely.  I don't love it though.   Still, I'd rather do it than not do it because with eight people in the house, ironing as we go would just be too stressful with people rummaging through laundry looking for clean stuff that needs ironed now. Bad and all as we are at timekeeping, we'd never be on time for anything if we had to do that.

I don't mind if I rarely get to the bottom of the bundle as then everything would have to fit into the wardrobes and drawers so my optimum would be a conveyor belt efficiency of equal amounts in the wardrobes, the laundry basket, drying and in the ironing bundle.

That's the theory.

The reality is that ironing is always the job that gets long-fingered.  I'm willing to bet most of you are nodding in agreement.  I know you're supposed to fold things away straight from the drier (if you have one) to reduce the amount of things to be ironed  but with a big workload , that's often long fingered too. In my rush to move onto the next job, I usually just throw everything on top of the bundle barely even sorted. So what I usually end up with is this:

Yes, it's a bit depressing looking at it and looks pretty daunting.  

It doesn't bother me though.

Because I know that with the right conditions this bundle will disappear in (almost) a flash.

Here's what I do...

(1)  I wait until the house is in a moderate to good state of tidiness. This means that I don't connect ironing to mess.  I only iron in a tidy environment and therefore the connotation is more relaxed than overwhelmed.

(2)  I try to enhance the relaxed ambience by lighting a scented candle.  There are lots of gorgeous scented candles on the market but I find that the ones you can buy in the supermarket can be every bit as nice, especially when you're only using it for ironing, not stay-at-home-date-night.  They are often available half price so I stock up then.  This is the supermarket one I really like, it doesn't have that cloying cheap smell the plug-in or spray versions have.

The Glade Christmasy ones are lovely too.

(3)  Here I go again...Music. Sometimes I put on some upbeat fast music, sometimes something more this:

So I can do some thinking.

(4) Set my timer.  I don't know whether you've heard of the organising guru, FlyLady. She is a great believer in using a timer for tasks we don't like. She works under the premise that anybody can do anything for fifteen minutes.  Fifteen minutes a day at our worst job makes it so much more manageable.  Well today I had a bit of time available as a pre-arranged meeting was cancelled, so I set my timer for an hour.

(5) I don't usually do this with my ironing but today I made myself accountable...I posted my self-imposed challenge on my Facebook page.  This made me less likely to start browsing Pinterest half way through my hour and end up drinking coffee instead.

(6) Just DO IT!!  Because I was working against the clock, I put on fast disco music.  I had to not disgrace myself on Facebook so there was a little bit of a 'competitive edge' introduced into the task. For husband's work shirts and pants there needs to be a certain good standard of crispness in the result but for children's t-shirts that are going to be worn out on the street and at this time of year, under a sweater, there's no real need for over-ironing.  A quick run over is perfect. Sing aloud (if you want to) and boogie (I suspect my choice of hip words might be a bit outdated...I'll need to get a few new ones from my big girls!).  It's just amazing how quickly that bundle will disappear before your eyes.

(7) When the hour, or fifteen minutes is up...STOP.  Leave the rest for next time.

(8) Finally...don't stumble at the finishing post.  Put the ironed clothes away.  This is usually my downfall, I move it all upstairs out of sight to put away later.  I can tell you...this is a mistake.  I don't know how many things I've had to re-iron over the years from stuff being strewn in the hurried morning search.

Here's what I managed in my hour...

I'm pretty satisfied with that.

And the basket looks less daunting for the plebs when I inform them they are finishing the rest.


  1. I went through a phase of ironing (oddly, it lasted through living in a heatwave in a non air-conditioned apartment but ended when we moved out of there...or maybe when we started packing to move out of there) and I'd just do it in the evenings in front of the telly. Not sure if I'll be finding the inclination to go back to it anytime soon, though!

  2. I agree ironing is something like painting that you sometimes get an urge to do. Wouldn't it be great if that urge applied to all the tasks we have to do! Thanks for dropping by :-)

  3. Fun post. I hate ironing clothes, I make my husband do that, if they're dress clothes that we need to wear right then. I do iron fabric, which I do enjoy.

  4. These are great ideas. I like fresh-pressed clothes, too, but I don't like the ironing part either. Creating a good atomosphere to work in is such a good idea! Thanks for sharing the Enya video. I love Enya!

  5. Just wanted to let you know that I really, really, really tried to think of your enthusiasm, tricks, and tips to get me through my latest ironing escapade! I'm happy to report that I got through the majority of my ironing, but boy that timer going off was absolutely music to my ears! :)

  6. ya its true :) At that raining time we could worry about more of our wet clothes. That time environment have more humidity . It never allows the clothes to dry easily. Buy dryer iron which dehydrate clothes in few minutes as well as iron them.


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